Pic: It's been interesting watching the different boats/ships come and go...
Pic: Sundowners on the beach with new friends...
Pic: View from the hillside road of the Carenage, St. George's Harbor.
Pic: We took a local bus to St. George's (the capitol and BUSY city), and found a barber for Michael.
As you'd expect from a "sticky" place like this, there is an active cruisers VHF net at 0730 on ch 66. Lots of goings-on, commercial ads and typical yachtie stuff. We ate 1/2 price pizzas at Prickly Bay Marina restaurant with Paul & Gina; most restaurants run specials on various days of the week to entice business. Finding our way back to the boat at night is always a bit of a challenge, but no drama. This morning, we re-anchored closer to the hub of things; it's calmer, we anchored in 25' instead of 35', and it's a closer dinghy ride to shore.It appears that boats are arriving and departing all the time; we're planning a sight-seeing excursion soon.
Pic: Wow, we'll have to get used to crowded anchorages from now on! We knew Grenada was a popular space, but my goodness!
Pic: the view from our lunch spot.
Pic:The quaint small village of Charlotteville is the fishing center for the island.
Pic: Map of Tobago, approximately 7 miles wide, 22 miles long. We're in the SW corner by the airport. We'll travel the north coast eastward.
Pic: Arriving at the mooring field in Store Bay. We'll have to catch a ride to Scarborough to check in with Immigration and Customs. We were so entertained by a pod of dolphins swimming alongside us as we hugged the north coast of Trinidad for over 2 hours.
Pic: The many boats here at TTSA (Trinidad & Tobago Sailing Association), are seasonal on moorings with bow & stern line .
Pic: So lovely to be back in the water! Sunrise is usually calm. The routine afternoon winds make the anchorage a bit more lively.
Pic: The view from Infini as she's carried to the haul out slip.
Pic: I was able to get the captain to join the group trip to Macqueripe Bay that Robin from Heidi organized. The hike let us know we were out of shape. The views and walk through the bamboo forest and jungle were invigorating. Submarines used this picturesque bay to refuel during World War II.
Pic: A view from Infini's deck while on 'the hard'.
The shaft, stuffing box, transmission coupling and exhaust riser are now all out and off the boat. Our two fixed, 3-blade props will go for routine inspection and the shaft will have a cotter pin hole drilled in the end for the retaining nut to be secured. One of the weaknesses of the MaxProp, in my opinion, is in the design; several threads of the prop shaft have to be cut off to fit it, so if you ever want to change over to a fixed blade prop, you're unable to secure the nut with a cotter pin as you've just cut off that portion of the shaft thread with the cotter hole in it. Crazy. We've been very fortunate and never hit anything with our prop blades; we've met other cruisers who weren't so lucky. What would they do if they didn't carry an expensive set of spare blades for their folding, variable pitch prop? Our exhaust riser will go to the welder to repair a small crack that developed. I had patched it with JB Weld, which held for many thousands of miles, but a proper repair will be done at this time. The boat awnings, which haven't been used since they were made in Guatemala, have been up for the last 7 months and are off to the shop for modification and repair; also, two hatch covers are getting new clear vinyl sewn in. There's a choice of bottom paints here, and I'm in the final stages of decision making; Hemphill, Jotun Sea Force, Trinidad SR, or Sea Hawk; prices and color availability are all over the place. The wind vane is in the machine shop having a frozen SS bolt on the rudder blade removed and new bearings put in. For anyone coming this way, here in Chagauramas there's a cruisers information net at 0800 on VHF 68 daily; it's very informative with lots of participation. Lastly, this past week there have been thunderstorms every day, so if you're planning on painting or peeling your boat, better to get here way early in the dry season.
I arrived a few days ago and spent the first two nights in the hotel located at Power Boats. That gave me the time to clean the deck and cockpit and recruit Clark from Two Amigos to help drag the heavy headsail and mainsail from the settee in the salon to the deck. We also brought the windvane topsides. Down below looked pretty good. A bit of dust, some dead flies, but no mold or dead roaches - yea! Overall, I'd say in very good shape, so I think our pre-departure efforts have paid off. The list of projects goes on. Since it's hot and humid here, I'm still getting acclimated. Oh, forgot: I said "I" and not "we" as Sue is still in Florida taking care of some business that needed attending to, and will be here in about two weeks. Let's see...all the halyards have been run; the furling blocks on the stanchions have been attached; the furling line has been run; Cold Keate put a small charge in the refrigerator compressor today; the box temperature is now down to where it should be; I changed the two water filters in the galley; the Maxprop propeller has been removed in anticipation of installing a new cutlass bearing; I've organized a bit down below (a never-ending process); done some provisioning for one; and installed a marine wifi system from island time pc. The internet is still very slow and sketchy, but I'm down below at the chart table writing this entry, so that's an improvement. All-in-all, not a bad few days. There are about a half-dozen boats around that we've met previously, so folks are coming back to start the new cruising season. I checked out the cruisers book exchange at the laundry here at Power Boats; 99% were in French or German.
Well, there... Hello, again! We trust all of you are well, rested, and have enjoyed yourselves in our absence. It's been a very busy summer for us as well, visiting lots of family and friends, and taking care of a ton of stuff, mostly expected, but you know how that goes. Plane reservations have now been made to return to Trinidad late October, where we'll get Infini ready for next season's cruising in the eastern Caribbean. We're really excited about that! Meanwhile, just a note to say we attended this past weekend's SSCA gam in St. Petersburg, Fl. For those who don't know, a "gam" means a social visit or friendly interchange, especially between whalers or other seafarers. (Yes, I had to look that definition up...) We didn't spot any whalers, but the event was quite well attended, and we enjoyed seeing old friends and making some new ones. If you're not a member, consider the benefits of joining; the website is www.ssca.org. We'll be starting to make more regular blog entries in the very near future and, as always, look forward to your comments and suggestions.
As we're not aboard, this will be our last blog entry until we return to Infini later in the year. We can be contacted at the email address found on the side bar and look forward to keeping in touch with many folks during our land travels. Have a great summer (or winter, for many of our friends in the other hemisphere)!
Pic: Where Infini departed from 8 years ago.
Pos: N08deg10min / W054deg42min. We had a good noon-noon run of 177 miles; average speed 7.4 knots. The full moon and conditions during the night were beautiful. Sue's prepared a lovely dinner: steak tenderloin medallions, Oriental noodle salad, mashed potatoes, onions with mushrooms, and sticky toffee cheesecake for dessert. Yumm! AWA.
Pic: Matt making more lures.
Pic: Michael & Matt working on the water pump pulley.
Pic: Michael working in the cramped engine room.
Pos: S05deg57.38min / W026deg11.42min. It's been a beautiful day sailing today. The wind got a bit brisk; we saw 30 knots, but it was dead behind us, so we ran with the full main and no headsail. Winds are forecast to moderate over the next few days...we'll see. In a previous blog entry, I mentioned "cotter checks". Today, routine surveillance, again, paid dividends as we found a crack in our starboard aft, lower turnbuckle, It's not all the way thru the turnbuckle, but with crevice corrosion, you never know. I've rigged up an extra SS wire strop and hitch to support the stay anyway; tomorrow I'll dig out the spare turnbuckle, but hope to be able to wait until we're at anchor in 3-4 days before replacing it. We've been enjoying lots of fresh fish, prepared pan-fried and poke. The humidity and heat are definitely rising; we're down to swimming suits and T shirts most all of the time. AWA.
Pos: S06deg43min / W020deg30min. During the night we picked up a favorable SE wind, 15-20 knots, and are now aiming at Fernando de Noronha. Our watch schedule is 3 hours on, 6 hours off, beginning at 1800 hours. Sue does a SSB radio net with other cruisers at 1900, and I've been attempting to hear our 0630 HAM net; no joy there. We've still had little success with Sailmail and have been using our Winlink connection. By 0500, water is on for coffee. I usually let Matt sleep thru the 0600 wake-up call if nothing's going on. Yesterday, I had to wake him as a ship was on AIS and closing with us. His CPA (closest point of approach) was 4 miles, but I had to get on the 0630 net and don't take anything for granted; we needed a visual watch on that ship. Matt's got two fishing lines in the water early on, but so far, no luck. We all do a lot of reading, swapping books with other cruisers or at book exchanges where we find them. "Cotter checks" are done twice daily, sunrise and sunset. This is where we look at wire terminal ends, sail stitching, cotter pins and rings, and generally check the rigging, lines and anything else. Any required small repairs or changes are addressed during the daylight, when possible, as are sail changes. Of course, it doesn't always work out that way! Have I mentioned food? We eat well aboard Infini, and our reefer and freezer (5 cu ft each) hold a lot, as do our pantry and dry storage lockers. The day goes by quickly; we still enjoy the sunrises and sunsets. Of note, as we're heading northwest, sunrise is getting later in the morning; today it was at 0720 hours. The color of the Atlantic here is a kind of cobalt blue, just beautiful. There are still birds fishing, way out here so far from land. So, hope this brief description gives some idea of life aboard; we hope you're enjoying your time as much as we're enjoying ours!
at 4:06 AM
It was an interesting morning. The iPad locked up and we were unable to get into any of our programs, including one of the navigation programs we use. Hmmm. I managed to sort that out by getting on the internet one last time, doing a Navionics chart program update, and crossing my fingers. Success. Aboard, I wanted to run the watermaker before departure and it was good that we did. One of the plastic fitting to the low pressure gauge snapped right off, and water was pumping into the bilge. Hmmm. Got that sorted out and all's well; can't carry enough spare parts. Finally, at 1245 we slipped the anchor and were off. Winds were SSE-SE 15 knots and the sun was shining; it's about 1100 miles to Fernando de Noronha, a National Park off the northeast coast of Brazil. Matt hooked a black jack fish 5 minutes after we left, but released it; we hope that's a harbinger of good fishing to come.
We joined our friends Etienne and Denise of sv La Luna for a road tour of the island. Car rentals are arranged thru the Obsidian Hotel as well as the petrol station. First, we drove up the nearby hill to see the view. The switchbacks were numerous and the road steep and narrow, but it only took a few minutes to reach the top. Leaving there, we went to the BBC Atlantic Relay Station. There, we had an informal tour with one of the engineers and learned the history of the Transmitting and Power Stations. The site serves as the main electricity and desalinated water supplier for the island's 800-900 residents. It also receives radio programming from London via satellite link, and feeds it forward to Africa and South America stations. After, we had a cheeseburger at the Two Boats Village before going to Green Mountain to hike to the bamboo forest and Dew Pond. This was a good trek up and around the mountain, and again, the views at a height of about 2800' were awesome. It was quite muddy in several sections, but we were able to rinse off when we returned to the residence house of the farm. It was late afternoon by the time we searched for the lava caves. After one false start just above Wideawake Airfield, we drove a bit further before finally seeing a small sign for Commodore's Cave. Ascension is a very small island, and aside from a few volcanic cauldrons and other hiking areas, other interesting things to do concern the local wildlife; birds, fish and turtles. It was an enjoyable day, and we returned aboard to prepare for departure in the morning.
Pic: Sunrise arrival to this volcanic island.
at 7:02 AM
Pos: S19deg52.6min / E004deg34.4min. Winds have been from the S-SSE-SE. We've been making good time, in the 140-155 nm/day range, but winds are forecast to ease a bit, so we'll see how it goes. We'll be celebrating reaching our half-way point later today. All's well aboard.
We're planning departure tomorrow for St. Helena, approximately 2253 km. (1400 miles). Final provisioning has been done, and we've cleared out with Immigration and Customs. Sue's posted a few new photo albums - enjoy!(1400 miles)
www.namibguesthouse.com) and left early the next morning to see the sand dunes of Sossusvlei and Sesriem. The drive to get there was amazing. First, you drive through Dorob National Park, then the Namib Naukluft Park. Gaub Pass and the surrounding terrain is worth seeing; our cameras were in constant use. We also spotted wild horses, zebras, ostrich, oryx and springbok. Along the way is a small rest stop called Solitaire; don't miss the apple cake at the café; really good stuff; fuel, an ATM, a restaurant and campground are also nearby. Continuing our drive, we ended up booking a self-catering "tent" at the Desert Camp (www.desertcamp.com; phone +27 21 930 4564). This is a nice stop, and less expensive than the resort lodges nearby (we calculated about ½ the price!). The entrance to Sossusvlei opens at 0620, and we were dutifully parked in the short line. It takes about an hour to drive a paved blacktop road to where the road ends. There, one pays N$100 (about $9USD, return included) for a 4 X 4 vehicle to transport you the remaining few kilometers to the end of the line (near Deadvlei); this is where the red sand dunes stretch out in front of you and you're transported into a true African experience. You can walk as long as you'd like, but we found that after a few hours of climbing and walking along the spines of a few dunes that we were ready to stop; it was about 1030 AM and the sun was starting to warm everything up. The shapes and colors of the dunes are difficult to describe; you really have to see them; magnificent. The sky was a clear blue without a cloud in the sky (today), and there was no sound except our own thoughts and our heartbeats. This is a unique and fabulous excursion, highly recommended. After, we ate lunch at the park restaurant and drove back to Walvis Bay.
Pic: One of the many wind sculpted dunes on our way to Sossuvlei.
Pic: One of the many wind sculpted dunes on our way to Sossuvlei.
Pic: Matt kiting among the local pelican flocks.